A golf cart pulled up to the front of Randolph Hall, loaded down with the makings of a college bedroom and a new life at the University of Mary Washington. Within seconds, volunteers, including senior Paige Gaddy, swarmed the vehicle, snapped up boxes, welcomed the new students, and quickly put anxious parents at ease.
“It was nice to see the smiles on the faces of incoming students and their parents as they were surprised that they were receiving so much help,” Gaddy said. “Not only is it a positive experience for incoming freshmen and their parents, but also the move-in crew. I was surprised at how much volunteering for move-in got me excited and ready for the year to begin.”
She was on the other side of the equation just a year ago. She transferred to UMW in 2012 after receiving an associate’s degree from Tidewater Community College.
Gaddy was one of 150 upperclassmen who woke up early on Friday to move their newest classmates, both transfers and first-time freshmen, into their residence halls. This year UMW welcomed close to 350 transfer students to the university, in addition to more than 900 first-year students.
“When I started thinking about it, I knew I wanted to do anything I could to help other people transition smoother,” she said of her decision to volunteer for move-in day. “I know what it’s like to come in knowing no one. I know what they are feeling. I know where they are. It’s ok to be a little bit scared.”
Despite her initial nervousness, Gaddy quickly became at ease at UMW, joining the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, diving into business classes and snagging an internship at Hilton Garden Inn over the summer.
“It represents the university well to know that 150 students, like Paige, took the additional time out of their summers to help incoming students,” said Megan Higginbotham, assistant director of student activities and orientation coordinator. “It shows how focused these students are on serving each other and the community.”